Last week, my supervisor popped by in the lab and told me he had been asked to review a manuscript, but didn’t have time to do it. Whether I would like to review it. Naturally, I said yes. To please him, because he’ll have to write substantial amounts of recommendation letters before I’ll reach the stage where I can do without him… Also, because I felt like it was some kind of test, to see whether I’m up to it; I still feel like I have to prove myself here somehow. Apart from that, I accepted because I think it’s a good way to learn. I give him my comments and write a draft review, he adjusts this as he sees fit and sends this also to me. Might be a good experience before trying to really review stuff signed by me and not my boss.
Which brings me to the point of this post: how do I get to the stage where I get to review things? As much as I like doing my bosses work without getting credit for it, of course I would like to advance, do the same work and be able to list it as super major (not) thing on my CV. Do I sit back and wait for the journals to find me? Do I join some kind of “I am not an overwhelmed PI yet and can do some free reviewing for you in a reasonable timeframe”-database? Or is this something only PIs are invited to, although they mostly don’t have the time for it anyway?
I really would like to review stuff, for multiple reasons. I’d get things to read that might be slightly outside of my usual scope (or so I hope..), meaning I’d have to read up on some unfamiliar topics. Which I mostly only do if I have a reason for it, like needing to have an opinion. Being forced to come out of my comfort zone every now and then would be good. Also, thinking critically about experiments someone else did, keeps one alert. After commenting on wrong controls or missing statistics, you would be particularly fluff-brained if you’d make the same mistake yourself. And finally, stupid reason… Every now and then, I simply miss the pressure I had during the last stages of my PhD work, reading, writing, reviewing my thesis and articles. I like to have a reason to spend an evening reading every now and then 🙂 Crazy huh?
So yeah, if anyone knows how one gets to be *chosen* as reviewer, let me know!!